First things first. For those who don't know, the North Country National Scenic Trail is a B I G trail 4,600 miles big, er, long. It runs through the northern tier of states, Michigan, Minnesota,North Dakota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (I picked alphabetical order rather than geographical because it puts us first!)
When completed the trail will be the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States.
Building and maintaining a trail that big is a B I G project. While the North Country Trail is a part of the National Park Service, most of the work and funding comes from private sources. Much of the coordination of these efforts is provided by the North Country Trail Association.
And that brings us to Petoskey's brand new designation as a North Country Trail Trail Town, and that is a really B I G deal. What is a Trail Town? The Trail association says:
A Trail Town is a community through which the North Country Trail passes that supports hikers with services, promotes the Trail to its citizens and embraces the Trail as a resource to be protected and celebrated. Trail Towns are built on a relationship between a town, the Trail and its volunteers.
Petoskey is an ideal selection for a Trail Town. We have many active volunteers to take care of and promote the trail. We have beautiful woods, rivers and Little Traverse Bay to see and enjoy. Plus we have a wonderful town for hikers to explore with great places to eat and shop, including [blush] our own Northern Michigan Artists Market. Check out the wonderful article on Petoskey on the Trail Town website.
And one more big thing. Petoskey will have a B I G party to celebrate the trail, Petoskey's designation as a Trail Town and the American Hiking Society's National Trails Day 2013. The party takes place on June 1 at the picnic shelter at the north end of the recently enhanced Bear River corridor [near Lake Street]. Festivities will include, exhibits, presentations,children's events (coordinated by the Petoskey District Library's outstanding musician and entertainment all-star, Ron Fowler, and, of course, food. in the For more details, see the AHS website or the B I G story in the Petoskey News Review.
And while you are at it, don't forget to actually get out there and explore Petoskey's own segment of the trail. It follows a part of the Little Traverse Wheelway recreation trail, runs through the Bear River corridor [shown in this photograph, Bear Creek Park Bridge, by Northern Michigan Artists Market artist Dawn Thompson and explores North Central Michigan College's natural area.
So you see, it really is a B I G deal that Petoskey is a Trail Town on the North Country Scenic trail. We know our town is a special place. Now even more people will discover and explore the area we know and love -- and we can get out there and join them!